As we continue to monitor the situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware that government restrictions are gradually being lifted in some regions and a steadily growing proportion of our training member companies are able to offer IRATA training courses.
As a global organisation, we are regularly consulting with our Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) Chairs to evaluate their regional needs. In consultation with our RAC Chairs, it has been decided that the certification extension scheme be withdrawn in some regions within the coming weeks. The decision to withdraw the scheme in some regions will be based upon the availability of IRATA training courses, the availability of IRATA Assessors, government legislation and travel restrictions, as well as other regional considerations.
As some countries within an RAC begin to ease restrictions, other countries within the same RAC may be facing further containment measures, due to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections. Therefore, any decision to stop the certification extension scheme will be made on a country by country basis, with a view to balancing the needs of our members and technicians; and in compliance with local legislation.
MAINTAINING SAFE OPERATIONAL CONTROL
Considering that some of our technicians operating on extended certification may not have received official IRATA training for well over three years, it is appropriate to remind our members that the safety of their technicians performing rope access activities must remain a top priority. It must be noted that it remains the duty of the employer to ensure that their rope access technicians are fully competent to safely perform the rope access duties assigned to them.
All technician certification should be checked on a regular basis and verified using the IRATA Technician Check Tool – https://irata.org/verify. Refresher training remains a requirement for those technicians who have not used rope access methods for a period of 180 days or more, as per our Training, Assessment and Certification Scheme (TACS) [TC-101].
Under no circumstances should the COVID-19 pandemic be used as a reason to relax IRATA’s safe working practices and our members will be required to demonstrate due compliance at their next IRATA audit.
The technician extension scheme has been implemented to support our technicians and member companies during these exceptional times. It is important to understand that the scheme is not provided as an alternative to training and re-certification, in cases where our Training, Assessment and Certification Scheme is available and accessible.
As we move forward through this challenging economic and operational climate, we thank you for your continued support and co-operation.